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Uganda marks International Deaf Awareness week in inclusive fashion show

Models with different forms of disabilities posing for photograph during inclusive fashion show in Kampala, Uganda.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Isabel Nakirya


It was one of a kind fashion show organized to raise awareness for the International Deaf week in Uganda. The event was made to raise funds for Dove School which is a special needs school in Kampala.

It saw models with different forms of disabilities and skin conditions take to the runway alongside able-bodied people, showcasing bold African collections by one of Uganda’s fashion designers.

The show organized by Sawe creations aimed at showing inclusivity in fashion as well as challenging stigma and the perception of disability. It was Sawe Catherine’s first show to fight for people with disabilities in Uganda.

“I think this is a first step towards breaking barriers, especially in fashion. It would be nice in Uganda to have a line that is run and has inclusive people and ordinary people working together.”

Several Ugandan designers have in the past come out to support and empower people with disabilities. One such organization is the Malengo foundation that has held annual fashion shows with disabled models strutting the catwalk.

This year, Sawe Creations joined the fight to revolutionize the fashion industry by advocating for customized designs for people with disabilities.

Uganda’s only Paralympic swimmer Husna Kukundakwe joined the catwalk for the first time. For her, it was an exciting step, having excelled in the water and winning medals in World Championships globally.

Having been born with one limb, she said she was confident about her looks but called on designers to use disabled people as brand ambassadors…..

“I do think that people with disabilities would make good marketing for fashion companies, in case you’ve noticed, most billboards are people who are able-bodied, and people with disabilities aren’t represented a lot, yet they could be the best marketing ever.”

For models like Balinda Musti who’s battling vitiligo, participating in several fashion shows before, this makes him more bold to show that skin conditions like his, shouldn’t hold people back…. He adorned a night-gown made from African print.

“That’s why I involve myself in every fashion that comes out, the reason being that I want to show people that we are also included and part of even with this kind of skin condition.”

The show also saw various performances, with contestants portraying the sufferings and discrimination that people with disabilities go through in life, sometimes done by able-bodied people.

People tend to create boundaries….but Sawe Creations is trying to bridge that gap.

Persons with disabilities go through enormous challenges, many times missing out in basic needs like education and health.

In Uganda 12% of the population are battling some form of disability and are some of the most neglected groups.

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